The Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013, filed April 16, 2013, lays out a 13-year path to citizenship for most of the 11 million people living in the United States illegally, allocates billions of dollars to be spent on border security, creates new legal guest worker programs for low-income jobs and farm labor, mandates the use of E-Verify for most companies hiring new workers and expands overall immigration to the U.S. by 50 percent in the next 10 years.
The bill proposes ways to clears up green card backlogs, raises the cap for H-1B workers and creates a new “W-visa” program for lower-skilled workers among many things.
The bill also requires all employers to use the E-Verify electronic employment verification system, phased in over a five-year period. Large employers with more than 5,000 employees would be phased in within two years.
Every noncitizen would be required to carry a “biometric work authorization card.”
Enhancements to the E-Verify system would include a photo-matching tool and the capability for employees to “lock” their Social Security numbers in the system to prevent others from using them. In order for the noncitizen to be cleared for a job, the picture on the card presented by the employee to the employer will have to match the identical picture the employer has in the E-Verify system. Employers would be required to certify that the photograph presented in person matches the photograph in the system.
The release of the Senate plan is the first shot of what’s expected to be a contentious months-long debate. Hearings have been scheduled before the Senate’s Judiciary Committee and a committee vote is expected in May. The bill would then go on to the full Senate. The prospects in the House are uncertain, even as a bipartisan group of House members are working on their own version of a comprehensive immigration bill.